Wednesday December 17 , 2014

Msgr. Cesar Petilla - Parochial Vicar

Msgr. Cesar Petilla
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Phone: 813-875-4040 ext:208 
Msgr. Cesar Petilla
5225 N. Himes Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33614

Msgr. Cesar Petilla was born the only child of Gil Ma. Petilla and Maria O. Pamplona (now both deceased) in the parish of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. This parish is located in the town of Palo, on the island of Leyte in the central Philippines. Msgr. was born on April 30, 1950.

After his elementary grades, at age 13, Msgr. entered Sacred Heart Seminary, the diocesan seminary of the now Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte. He attended high school and college for eight years at Sacred Heart, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. After graduating from college, Msgr. decided to go on “regency,” that is, to take a leave from the seminary to discern whether to proceed to his Masters in Theology and ordination or to pursue another vocation. He taught in a Catholic school for the next two years.

Having completed his Catholic school teaching assignment in 1973, Monsignor Petilla decided to go back to the seminary and pursue his Theology studies in Seminario Mayor de San Carlos in Cebu City, a nearby province. After four years, Msgr. was ordained a transitional Deacon on September 27, 1976 for the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte, and six months later to the priesthood on March 23, 1977. After having been ordained a priest, he was assigned as a Parochial Vicar for the next three years, serving in two parishes, St. Joseph’s in Dagami in Leyte and Holy Cross Parish in Carigara, Leyte.  

In November of 1979, Msgr. was appointed pastor of the small rural parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Pastrana, Leyte. He was then transferred to the city parish of Sto. Nino in Tacloban City, where he served as a Parochial Vicar for two years in order to finish a Civil Law course. Having graduated from the Civil Law course in April 1985, Msgr. took a sabbatical in order to enroll in review classes in San Beda College in Manila, in preparation for the Philippine Bar examinations in November of 1985. Having passed the Philippine Bar, and taking the oath of an attorney before the Supreme Court of the Philippines in June of 1986, Msgr. was assigned to the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Palo to eventually handle several offices, among them the Social Action Directorship of the Archdiocese of Palo, the Oeconome (Treasurer of the Archdiocese), ex officio Member of the College of Consultors and the Board of Temporalities, and the confidante of the Archbishop of Palo. In the meantime, he was installed on August 16, 1991 as an Honorary Prelate with the title of Monsignor. Monsignor Petilla served for the next eight years on a full time basis in the diocesan Chancery. Upon Msgr.’s request, the Archbishop installed Msgr. on December 2, 1994 as pastor in the urban Parish of St. Nino in Tacloban City, concurrent with being the Episcopal Vicar for Temporalities for the Archdiocese.

Having concluded six years in these various capacities, Msgr. was transferred to become pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Palompon, Leyte where he served for another five years, until the last day of June 2006.  Having served the Archdiocese for the past 30 years, Msgr. Petilla was granted another sabbatical leave upon the retirement of his Archbishop. During his sabbatical, Msgr. planned to enroll in a Masters program in Civil Law. These plans, however, did not materialize as, in the meanwhile, Msgr. received an “invitation” from several priest friends to serve in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Bishop Lynch granted permission to have Msgr. Petilla begin his service to the people of his Diocese.

Since coming to the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Msgr. Petilla has served at Incarnation, St. Luke parish in Palm Harbor, St. Clement parish in Plant City and now at St. Lawrence.